Well-loved John Anthony has risen to fame as one of Hong Kong’s first sustainable restaurants and remains a hot destination for modern Cantonese food, paying tribute to East meets West. The menu presents a diverse range of cocktails, sharing plates and handcrafted dim sum.
As 2019 comes to an end, ringing in the holidays is one of my favourite things to do. I love gathering together family and friends for a big feast. Maybe you’re ready to have turkey (again), but if you’re in Hong Kong, the modern Chinese festive menu at John Anthony should be an option on your list. I guarantee it will dazzle your guests, especially those from out of town.
I’m always in awe when I walk downstairs to John Anthony. The pastel shades of pink, green and blue and the retro-mod smooth curved ceilings seem Wes Anderson inspired.
Sustainability is presented at its finest. All furnishings and decorative accents used to create the space are made from 100% recycled materials. In addition, the eco-friendly cocktails – with more than 400 gins available – are recommended, and this time it’s safe to opt out of wine.
The nine-course festive set dinner menu ($680/person; minimum 4 people) is presented family style. First to appear were the razor clams, and we immediately grabbed one shell each. Skilfully done, this dish was a teaser for our palates. Pickled peppercorn and white vinegar amplified the saltiness of the dish, and the garnishes of minced red and green peppers and garlic paste added some savoury earthiness to the clams.
The dim sum is done with discipline at John Anthony. The signature pink rose har gao came out hot and steaming, garnished with dried rose, which gave off a lovely, refreshing smell as the woven lid was lifted. The dumpling skin was soft and delicate, while the shrimp was savoury and tender with a slight crunch. Simply beautiful!
On the other hand, the mushroom, black pepper and vegetable puff was impeccable in detail. With carved, perfectly ridged edges, the bright green pastry dough could be mistaken for an avocado from afar, and with each bite consistent, we loved the cloud-like and wonderfully airy texture and the subtle kick from the black pepper.
A Cantonese dinner isn’t complete without soup. The bright red hot-and-sour soup is simple and classic. Filled with enoki mushrooms, peas, dried scallop and fresh bits of fish, the statement sour taste was on the mellow side.
Moving on to the mains, the stir-fried farmed grouper with salted fish, Chinese kale and flatwood ear mushroom came out along with the whole crab vermicelli clay pot with prawn and conpoy. Tender and flaky with a glossy appearance, the grouper plays around with the fresh textures of the crunchy kale and soft mushrooms. The crunchy noodles on top are a comforting classic Cantonese touch.
The whole crab vermicelli was a favourite amongst our table and was inhaled within minutes. Tossed in a pile of fresh rice noodles are chunks of crab along with a generous amount of fresh roe and sharp spring onion garnish.
The star dish on the menu, the Peking duck at John Anthony must be ordered 24 hours in advance (if ordered à la carte) and is roasted upon arrival at the restaurant. The skin was beautifully lacquered and crisp. Sliced into thin, delicate pieces, each bite of meat was robust and tender.
The duck second course, aka stir-fried duck rack, rolled out next, stewing away in a hot clay pot. Traditional and authentic, the meat was tossed with ginger and large sections of spring onion, giving punchy dimension to the dish. This course reinforces the concept of sustainability at John Anthony by using all parts of the duck.
Ginseng panna cotta ended all culinary clashes of East meets West in harmony. Not too sweet, creamy and silky, the ginseng flavour was mild.
The four of us cleared all nine dishes with glee. The food at John Anthony is unbelievably flavourful and takes diners on an East-meets-West culinary adventure. The price you pay is completely worth it, and truthfully, I have no other words except that I’m grateful to have enjoyed such a delicious meal with my friends.
Basement, Lee Garden Three, 1 Sunning Road, Causeway Bay, 2898 3788, firstname.lastname@example.org
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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